Space Foundation celebrates Symposium 2023, calls for Space as Critical Infrastructure

Space Foundation celebrates Symposium 2023, calls for Space as Critical Infrastructure

Rich Cooper, VP of Strategic Communications at Space Foundation, which runs the annual Symposium, told Electronics Weekly that the government already recognises 16 sectors – such as water systems, transportation systems or financial services – and given the role space plays across a range of sectors, it needs to be similarly recognised as a critical infrastructure.

“We need to be putting it on the same playing field as the counterparts that it is already supporting,” he pointed out, to establish better connections and reactions to any impacts on space technology. “Space is the thread of connectivity that runs through these services.”

Such a move, he said would raise the level of consciousness both about the importance of space and the possible impacts that could be felt.

Space, of course, now plays a major role in areas such as earth observation (with all the environmental information that entails), PNT (for example GPS) and national security (as seen with the Russia-Ukraine war).

He highlighted the work, for example, of the Space ISAC, the space-focused information sharing and analysis center, which was created by NASA, the U.S. Space Force, and the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Critical Infrastructure

You can see some opening remarks for the Symposium from the Space Foundation CEO in the video below.

“Quite simply, Space is an indispensable, critical infrastructure and it is time it should be treated as such,” said Space Foundation CEO Tom Zelibor.

“When most people thing of infrastructure they think of roads, dams, bridges and utilities. These elements of infrastructure are necessary for modern society to function and are appropriately treated as critical when it comes to policy, budgetary and legal decision making. Space should be viewed the same way. Today space supports access and essential data and connectivity that is necessary for every country, industry and community to be part of the 21st century.”

It goes without saying, he added, that the destruction of space assets would have a debilitating effect that would ripple across the globe.

Space Foundation

Founded in 1983, and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Space Foundation is a US nonprofit advocate organisation for the global space ecosystem.

Space Foundation celebrates Symposium 2023, calls for Space as Critical InfrastructureThis year’s Symposium (pictured above, and see right) was attended by 14,000 people this year, from 40 countries spanning governmental organisations, companies and academia. Twenty space agency leaders attended the event, highlighted Cooper. It ran, over four days, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

It was the 38th Symposium since the Foundation was created. Cooper paid particular tribute to the role of the International Space Station in bringing countries together in their space efforts and showing what could be achieved – how to build, operate and co-operate within space.

“It’s uplifting to see the different approaches, all providing connectivity with space and helping us to get to the next levels of technology,” he said. “The space industry has shown it can deliver on challenging assignments, whether civil or military.”

The Space Symposium 2024 will run Monday 8 – Thursday 11 April 2024.

See also: Space Foundation sizes global space economy, boosted by gov spending

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